Independents

What Spicer Greene Had to Say About Its Controversial Ad

IndependentsMar 29, 2017

What Spicer Greene Had to Say About Its Controversial Ad

Spicer Greene Jewelers’ “Throw Rocks at Girls” billboard sparked a nationwide debate. Here’s what they, and marketing experts, had to say about the campaign.

Asheville, N.C.--When Asheville, North Carolina jewelry store Spicer Greene Jewelers posted a billboard last week with the phrase “Sometimes, it’s ok to throw rocks at girls…” surrounded by images of diamonds and colored gemstones, they had no idea it would generate so much publicity.

“The intent was to be reminiscent of a childhood teaching, that it’s not OK to throw rocks at anybody, but if you're going to we’d rather have it be one from us,” said co-owner Eva-Michelle Spicer.



Spicer said that the ad was a play on words and that any literal violent connotation, “was not its intent. We don’t condone violence of any kind of toward anyone.”

The billboard swiftly met outrage online, leading the store to issue an apology on their Facebook page last Thursday that stated: “To whom we have offended with our recent billboard, please accept our apologies … We are humble enough to realize when we make a mistake.”

Sunday afternoon, a small group of people protested outside of the store.

Spicer Greene was aware of the forthcoming protest and donated 10 percent of sales from the preceding Thursday through Sunday, the day of the protest, to Helpmate, a local domestic violence agency, and Our Voice, a rape crisis services organization.

Spicer said that they have worked with these organizations, and other community organizations, prior to the controversy. “We've been supporters of Helpmate and Our Voice for many years,” she said.

Despite the apology and subsequent donations, by this week, the ad had gained so much traction on various social media forums that the story was picked up nationally by news outlets like Time, CNN and The Washington Post.

“I think that (the negative reaction) was started by a small group of very loud people who wanted to get attention focused on the billboard. Then Chelsea Clinton tweeted about it and it was a slow day in news,” Spicer said.



Marketing and public relations experts interviewed by National Jeweler about the billboard controversy said the old adage “There is no such thing as bad publicity” doesn’t necessarily apply in this case.

“Good copywriting is worth the money one has to pay,” said Andrea Hansen, founder and president of Luxe Intelligence, a luxury jewelry brand consultancy.

“This could have easily been averted if only they had said, ‘The only time when it’s OK to throw rocks at girls…’ It’s still cheeky, it’s still
a play on words, and it’s socially sensitive at the same time.”

Though personally Hansen said that her first reaction was, “Do we have to make a big deal of everything these days?” she noted the importance of understanding one’s core audience.

“Attitudes are changing, consumer behavior is changing very fast and while brands must be authentic, and react in real time to issues like this, often the insider perspective is too clouded. Ask an outsider to validate your findings, opinions and plans,” she advised.

Meghan Folsom, co-founder and director of public relations at accessories showroom Mega Mega Projects, agreed that Spicer Greene Jewelers misjudged their audience.

“Even though I find this ad inappropriate and offensive, if (Spicer Greene) were to use in it private email marketing directed specifically towards their adult customer base, it would not be causing the same social uproar,” she said, in reference to the criticism leveled at Spicer Greene for the fact that children would see the ad and not necessarily understand the context.

Folsom said that the ad has offended people in far-reaching ways, showing a disconnect with contemporary consumer values.

“Beyond the implications of violence towards women, I find the sexist undertones of this ad to be demeaning on many levels. Self-purchasing women make up a huge part of the jewelry business in today’s market,” Folsom said. “Not only is this store tacitly making light of domestic violence, but they are also implying that women need to have jewelry purchased for them by men.”

The silver lining of the controversy for Spicer has been the support she’s received in the jewelry industry, as well as from the public.

Spicer explained to National Jeweler that the reactions to the campaign had actually been mainly positive.

“Overwhelmingly, people have loved the billboard,” she said. “About 3 percent (of reactions) have been negative.”

“I’d really like to thank the industry. It’s been amazing. The Jewelers Helping Jewelers Facebook group really rallied around us and supported us and we’re blessed to be in an industry with such caring people,” she said.

When asked if it plans to take down the billboard, Spicer said that the store intends to move up its summer marketing campaign to replace the current ad, but that the timing of that is up to the company that owns the billboards and runs its advertising services.

Hansen told National Jeweler that donating funds to organizations that combat domestic violence was the right move for Spicer Greene Jewelers to make, no matter their intention with the ad.

“Perception is reality,” she concluded. “In the arena of public opinion, that’s the only truth that matters.”
Ashley Davisis the senior editor, fashion at National Jeweler, covering all things related to design, style and trends.

The Latest

Supplier BulletinJun 24, 2022
AGTA GemFair™ Denver is the Place to Be in September!

Sponsored by AGTA

Recorded WebinarsJun 24, 2022
Vegas Jewelry Recap: The Editors Weigh In

Watch the webinar in which National Jeweler’s editors talk about jewelry market week trends and their predictions for the rest of 2022.

MajorsJun 24, 2022
Banter by Piercing Pagoda Celebrates Pride with ‘SayGay’ Necklace

All proceeds up to $25,000 will benefit the It Gets Better Project, a nonprofit that supports LGBTQ+ youth.

Brought to you by
Discover The Extraordinary Italian Jewelry In Las Vegas!

Experience all the Italian Jewelry market has to offer in Las Vegas.

CollectionsJun 24, 2022
Piece of the Week: Marie Lichtenberg’s Hidden Message Locket

It’s a reminder that life is best lived with discretion.

Weekly QuizJun 23, 2022
This Week’s Quiz
Test your knowledge of the latest jewelry news with this quick test.
Take the Quiz
TechnologyJun 24, 2022
Cloud-Based POS Software Jewel360 Launches for Jewelry Retailers

The end-to-end software allows for real-time control over all sales, inventory, repairs, customer communications, and marketing.

EditorsJun 23, 2022
Antique Show Observations From a First-Time Attendee

Associate Editor Lenore Fedow shares her impressions of the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show and a few of her favorite finds.

Brought to you by
3 Reasons to Offer Estate Buying at Your Store

Provide your customers with a seamless selling solution by partnering with Windsor Jewelers, Inc.

GradingJun 23, 2022
AIGS Launches Grading Report for ‘Santa Maria’ Aquamarine

The Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences aims to set a color standard for the trade name.

SourcingJun 23, 2022
Rough Diamond Sales Rise Again for De Beers

Sales were up 36 percent year-over-year in June and are pacing 24 percent ahead of last year at this point.

AuctionsJun 23, 2022
Auction House Freeman’s Appoints First Rep in Florida

Kate Della Monica, a senior specialist in the Jewelry and Watches department, will relocate to the Sunshine State.

Lab-GrownJun 22, 2022
LVMH Luxury Ventures Sinks Money Into Lab-Grown Diamond Start-Up

LVMH’s investment arm has taken a stake in Lusix, a lab-grown diamond company based in Israel.

AuctionsJun 22, 2022
Here’s How Two 100-Plus-Carat Diamonds Did at Auction

Sotheby’s New York put a colorless diamond and a fancy deep orange-brown diamond up for sale last week, with mixed results.

CrimeJun 22, 2022
Leviev Diamonds Launches Bracelet to Help ‘Tinder Swindler’ Victims

Profits will help them recoup financial losses.

MajorsJun 22, 2022
Swarovski Names First Non-Family CEO

Retail veteran Alexis Nasard will step in as CEO on July 4.

SourcingJun 22, 2022
Edward Asscher to Remain WDC President for Another Year

The organization also extended the terms of Vice President Feriel Zerouki and Treasurer Ronnie VanderLinden.

ColumnistsJun 21, 2022
State of the Majors 2022: Reflections on Resilience

After suffering a professional setback, columnist Peter Smith reflects on our ability to bounce back even when the hits keep on coming.

Events & AwardsJun 21, 2022
24 Karat Club of Southern California Will Honor These Industry Leaders

The organization will present three awards at its annual dinner, dance, and gala in October.

MajorsJun 21, 2022
David Yurman Hires Chief of People, Strategy

Former McKinsey partner Emily Yueh marks new president Evan Yurman’s first hire.

TrendsJun 17, 2022
Britney Spears Wore Over $500K of Stephanie Gottlieb Diamonds at Her Wedding

The New York jeweler also made the pop star’s wedding bands.

AuctionsJun 17, 2022
5-Carat Paraiba Tourmaline Ring to Hit the Auction Block

It’s predicted to sell for up to $484,000 during the Bonhams Hong Kong Jewels and Jadeite auction on June 22.

Events & AwardsJun 17, 2022
WJA Foundation to Offer Tech Scholarships for Women of Color

The recipient will receive up to $17,500 toward a tech-focused certification or program of their choice.

CollectionsJun 17, 2022
Piece of the Week: Gemella’s ‘Stella’ Necklace

It’s as versatile as it is glamorous.

Supplier BulletinJun 16, 2022
HiBid Is A Jewelry Lover’s Best Friend

Sponsored by HiBid

TechnologyJun 16, 2022
Cartier, Amazon Suing ‘Influencer,’ Sellers Over Counterfeit ‘Love’ Jewelry

The alleged scheme involving fake “Love” bracelets, necklaces and rings was designed to circumvent Amazon’s counterfeit detection tools.

MajorsJun 16, 2022
Helzberg CEO Beryl Raff to Retire

Chief Financial Officer Brad Hampton will take over as the retailer’s new CEO.

CollectionsJun 16, 2022
Kirk Kara Unveils ‘Rayana’ Collection, New Bridal Styles at Luxury Show

Its new collection with subtle swirl designs draws inspiration from the family’s Armenian roots.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy